Posts Tagged Bitter Bells series

Date: June 2nd, 2013
Cate: new releases
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The Frowning Clouds & The Living Eyes


2012 was a big year for Melbourne suburb Geelong. Now it’s that time again, and The Laughing Leaves mentioned in the post below is not the only band making the rounds (speaking of leaves, don’t forget to check out The Fallen Leaves’ new album). The Living Eyes are back with a follow-up to last year’s brilliant “Ways to Make a Living” 45, on Billy’s own label Anti Fade. The album is self-titled and includes ten new garage winners as well as the single top side. It’s already sold out, but you should stream it on bandcamp, starting with my favourite track “Heard It All Before” below.

Saturno Records in Spain released the very first Living Eyes single back in 2011, but was already then the home of Geelong stalwarts The Frowning Clouds, who recently came back to Europe to play the Le Beat Bespoke weekender in London. They’ve finished their second album now, but as an early teaser Saturno put together a tour cassette called Gospel Sound From the Church of Scientology. If the eight tracks are anything to go by with regards to the new album, the Clouds are done with the ’65 Rolling Stones sound, and the slightly more primitive and varied sound is rather in line with side projects The Bonniwells and The Hierophants, and definitely nods to The Kinks. Two stand-out tracks “Guess Again” and “Thought About Her” prove Nick and Zak still have some major talent to unleash. The latter, as you can hear below, lifts the intro straight out of The Mods “Days Mind the Time” (featured here on Bitter Bells), which is quite an obscure garage 45 although it has previously been covered by The Madd.

Date: January 24th, 2013
Cate: new releases
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The Skeptics | Apple Candy


Here’s a retrospective Paul Messis tipped me about last year, suggesting it’d be as great as the Roosters release on Break-a-Way. I ordered a copy of the LP yesterday, but just as with the JuJus compilation of a few years ago there’s a another version on a completely different label (JuJus were released on both Cicadelic and Break-a-Way). You see, also in 2012, Gear Fab put out The Early Years: 1965-1969 on both CD and LP. What differs from the Distortions release Apple Candy is the inclusion of the b-side of their first single (with another, female vocalist) a second studio take of the title track, as well as a 1969 recording sounding like Blood, Sweat & Tears. The Skeptics may be best known for their “Turn It On” single (covered by The Bristols), and it is hard to believe it was the same band that earlier recorded “I Told Her Goodbye” (credited to Jerry Waugh & the Skeptics). This moody 12-string cut was included on my Bitter Bells set and sees songwriter and singer Jerry Waugh in a sulky mood. The vocals, delivered in a Zombies-style hush, will impress you as much here as on the other side of that 45, “For My Own”. The band’s whole output of 6 singles is included here, and the R’n’B stomper “Apple Candy” is another highlight. Whichever release you choose, be sure to pick one up soon, because the vinyl is limited. The Distortions LP is stocked by e.g. Bomp! and Clearspot.

Date: January 23rd, 2013
Cate: new releases

The Bees & Adrian Lloyd


Ugly Things continue to put out amazing reissues on 45. We’ve covered The Nashville Ramblers, and in 2011 they did The Sloths and most recently The Bees the same favour. These are incredibly rare and are thus mastered from vinyl, but in both cases done with the blessing of original members. The Bees’ only 45 was “Voices Green and Purple” and is well known from Nuggets and lots of other compilations. There’s a reason it has become a legend, despite it’s length (only about 1:30), and that’s the fierce rave-ups throughout the song. The b-side “Trip to New Orleans” isn’t much longer. Although from California, there’s no relation to the LA folk rock group The Bees. Personally, I would rather have seen a reissue of their Mira and Mirwood 45s, both of which you can hear in Colin’s Sensory Perceptions podcast. There are three incredible clips of them playing live on Hollywood a Go-Go, doing “Leave Me Be“, a Dylan number (“She’s an Artist“) and most notably the never released but beautiful “Mimi’s Song“. We’re even introduced to Mimi at the start, who’s on the show only a few weeks after having married one of the band members.


Another G100 listing is Adrian Lloyd’s “Lorna” on the otherwise wellknown Hollywood label Charger. “Lorna” is a floor-shaking screamer, and the moody flip “Got a Little Woman” has been featured on my Bitter Bells series. Sundazed recently announced on facebook that this is a planned release for Record Store Day 2013, so keep your eyes open, and follow Adrian on facebook too.

Date: October 16th, 2012
Cate: rediscovered

I’m Losing Tonight

Here’s a tip for fans of the Bitter Bells series, Caveman78 (of one of the longest running 60s garage blogs around) has shared his own series of three moody garage compilations, called I’m Losing Tonight! after the great Canadian group A Passing Fancy’s first single. You’ll find a certain overlap with Bitter Bells, but these ones feature a lot more harder-edged garage and not just jangly ballads. First volume here and then check the following two posts.

Date: September 26th, 2012
Cate: graphic design, rediscovered

Bitter Bells #1-6

A few volumes of moody garage series Bitter Bells had vanished from the web, but upon request they’ve gradually been re-up’d in one and the same place. 119 tracks in total, get them here. About time to continue with the G100 series then!

Date: August 30th, 2012
Cate: graphic design, rediscovered

SIDE44 | mix

This is definitely the (bitter) end of this series. 25 tracks, all from 1965-67, and digging into some of the recently unearthed material from American garages. Yes, this volume is mostly American except one track each from Canada, Greece and Holland. The Coachmen on this volume was one out of more than 10 groups with that name, hailing from Arkansas, and their track can be found on the three-volume Lost Souls series from Psych of the South (available on Spotify in full). The Roadrunners track is from the fourth New England Teen Scene compilation, which only features previously unreleased numbers. Phil & the Frantics released 4 singles, but “Where Am I Running to?” was first released as part of the Voxx retrospective of the group. Similarly the track by The Hustlers, whose lone single was issued by the Chelle label, is from a retrospective on Gear Fab. But who knows, if “Destination Nowhere” had been released in 1966 it might have got as big as “Eight Miles High”, which it emulates to stunning effect.

This last volume opens with two incredible tracks, the first from the curiously spelt Frut of the Loom (looks like Früt of the Loom in label scans) which alone could have spawned the entire Greek garage revival scene with its moody onslaught. This was a private press and by the looks of it on Popsike, still very cheap to get hold of. I realised at the last minute I had somehow missed including The JuJus on previous volumes, so I stuck “You Treat Me Bad” on here in panic. Most of you will know this often-comp’ed garage classic, but it’s still one of my favourite groups on one of my favourite labels, Fenton. Get the 2009 JuJus retrospective on Cicadelic if you haven’t yet! And that’s The Chessmen (yes, the ones who cut the immortal “I Need You There”) on the cover, who were featured on #2 with “No More”.


01 Frut of the Loom – One Hand In Darkness Loom 67101, 1967
02 The JuJus – You Treat Me Bad Fenton 1004, 1966
03 The Fashions – All Alone CNR 9895, 1967
04 The Nomads – Time Remains J&S 1001, 1967
05 The Coachmen – Lovelight unreleased
06 The Chateaus – I’m the One Boss 9912, 1965
07 Phil & The Frantics – Where Am I Running to? Voxx VXM 200.011 1985
08 Little Phil & The Nightshadows – In the Air Gay 3031, 1966
09 The Hustlers – Destination Nowhere Gear Fab 204, 2003
10 Art Guy – Teenage Millionaire Valiant 762, 1967
11 The Bittersweett – She Lied Prestige 162, 1967
12 The Shaynes – From My Window Pee Vee 142, 1966
13 The New Order – Why Can’t I? Warner 5863, 1966
14 The Kinetics – I’m Blue Studio City 1033, 1965
15 The Pubs – The Lost Soul Velvet Tone 108, 1966
16 The Sherlocks – Turn Her Down Dot 16890, 1966
17 The Roadrunners – You’re Thinking of Me unreleased
18 Bill & the Psychedelic Band – I’m In Love Lucky 9004, 1967
19 The Yorkshire Puddin’ – Ain’t Gonna Love Ya No More Dellwood 3932, 1967
20 Lonnie & the Legends – I Cried Impression 109, 1966
21 The Innkeepers – Never Should Have Done It Galiko 895, 1966
22 Poverty Five – Cry Cry Cry Thumbs Down 1002, 1966
23 The Starfires – Won’t Die Away G I 4004, 1966
24 The Prophets – You Wonder Why Ikon 504, 1966?
25 The Eyes of Dawn – Time to Be Going Sir John A. 1018, 1967

Date: June 21st, 2012
Cate: graphic design, rediscovered

SIDE37 | mix

Quick on the heels of the final promised volume of Bitter Bells, here’s the first of two bonus volumes. I’ve probably never had more reason to listen to moody garage songs than right now, so why not just go with it? This is the most eclectic volume so far with transworld representatives from the masters of moody beat: Holland and Greece. Also several cuts from the year of folk-rock that was 1965. The Harbinger Complex is one of my favourite groups, not least because of their tracks on the A Pot of Flowers compilation. Their most famous release is of course the Brent 45 with “I Think I’m Down” on the a-side. This track from the Amber release however, shows the gentler folk-rock side of the group. The Skeptics here is the group of  “Turn It On” fame, but as this track proves they had more in common with jangle greats like The Roosters, and like them, they will have a retrospective compilation out soon. There’s even a cut from an LP here, “Three For Love” is The Shadows of Knight’s take on The Byrds, hidden away on their 2nd album. I’d like to thank Expo67 for the rip of the Sin-Say-Shuns, who actually have a whole LP streaming on Spotify. Like The Tempos (featured on the next volume), they had the rare opportunity for a garage band to record a full-length. Neither of the albums are very original, but still very collectible. The Mojos (on the cover of #3) have created one of the monsters of moody with “What She’s Done to Me”. I doubt anyone could smile listening to this track, which matches the utter gloom of the Brym-Stonz’ “Times Goes By”. Have fun.


01 The Dragons – The Forest of My Place Olympic  74003 , 1967
02 The Harbinger Complex – Sometimes I Wonder Amber 8999, 1966
03 The End Result – Never Ask Again Chattahoochee 717, 1967
04 The Stoics – Enough of What I Need Brams 101, 1967
05 The Fairviews – Nightmares Spin It 121, 1965
06 Jerry Waugh & the Skeptics – I Told Her Goodbye Thrush 1002, 1965
07 The Mojos – What She’s Done to Me Mojos 88/124, 1966
08 The Sounds Unlimited – About You Solar 101, 1965
09 The Shadows of Knight – Three For Love Dunwich S667, 1966
10 The Bows & Arrows – I Don’t Believe It GNP Crescendo 356, 1965
11 The Intruders – Ruins Cinema 6901, 1966
12 The Loose Ends – Free Soul Mala 538, 1966
13 Michael & The Medallions – I Wanna Talk to You Bragg 222, 1965
14 The Cannons – Days Go By Night Owl Night Owl 1312, 1967
15 Sin-Say-Shuns – All My Lonely Waiting Venett 108, 1966
16 Tony & The Bandits – (Oh No!) I Can’t Lose Coral 62461, 1965
17 The Misty Blues – I Feel No Pain Stature 66-5-7, 1966
18 Spider & The Mustangs – You Ask Me Why Sands 10662, 1966
19 The What-Nots – Nobody Else But You Amber 101, 1966
20 The Sages – I’m Not Going to Cry RCA-Victor 47-8760, 1965
21 The Painted Faces – I Want You Qualicon 5002, 1967
22 The Tempos – You’re Gonna Miss Me Justice J-104, 1966
23 The Olympians – Hopeless Endless Way Philips 6125, 1966
24 The Tom Northcott Trio – Just Don’t New Syndrome 1, 1966
25 The Falcons – I’m That Man Philips JF-333527, 1966

Date: May 9th, 2012
Cate: Music

SIDE34 | mix

Here then, is the 4th set of Bitter Bells that I put together over a year ago. The plan was four volumes with 23 tracks each, featuring all my favourite moody garage and folk-punk singles. Most of them I’ve found on the epic USA Garage Greats compilations. But there probably will be one or two more volumes in the near future.

Tracks 1-4 are perennial favourites, along with tracks 12,13 and 16. While most of the cuts are from Byrds-mania year 1966, this volume is still quite eclectic, featuring Dutch beat group The Sound Magics, The Gremlins from Auckland, New Zealand, as well as early single from The Flock. The insanely rare Beachnuts 45 is not by the Lou Reed group of the same name, and the other rarity here is the Ruff 45 by The Page Boys (never comped, only available at Garage Hangover).


01 The Mods – Days Mind the Time Cee Three 1000, 1966
02 The Roosters – You Gotta Run PSA 11032, 1966
03 The Trolls – Are You the One ABC-Paramount 10823, 1966
04 The Gremlins – I Can’t Say Zodiac 3000, 1967
05 The Bees – Forget Me Girl Mira 210, 1966
06 The Rooney Brothers – Just a Friend Columbia 44393, 1968
07 The Briks – It’s Your Choice acetate, 1966
08 The F.B.I. – Day Time – Night Time Gemini 501, 1967
09 The Shondells – It’s True Ikon Enterprises 167/168, 1965
10 The Page Boys – Sweet Love Ruff 1020, 1966
11 The Grapes of Wrath – Not a Man Storm, 1967
12 The Rovin’ Flames – Seven Million People Tampa Bay 1111, 1966
13 The Bad Seeds – Taste of the Same J-Beck 1002, 1965
14 The Sound Magics – Don’t You Remember Philips JF327972, 1965
15 The Enemys – My Dues Have Been Paid MGM K13525, 1966
16 The Plagues – I’ve Been Through It Before Fenton 2070, 1966
17 The Mysterions – Is It a Lie Jox 040, 1965
18 The Wrong Numbers – I Wonder Why Hit Cat 201, 1965
19 The Maltees Four – You Pacific Challenger 111, 1966
20 The Beachnuts – Nature’s Company Showcase 9902, 1967
21 The Flock – Can’t You See (That I Really Love Her) Destination 628, 1966
22 The Del-Fi’s – Now It’s Time DC 150, 1965
23 The Guilloteens – For My Own HBR 451, 1965

Date: November 15th, 2011
Cate: graphic design, rediscovered

SIDE25 | mix

And here is the third volume of moody jangle compilation series Bitter Bells – only one left to go now! Well, actually two new volumes are in the works, bringing the count up to six. This time we’ve got Dutch beat and psych masters Golden Earrings on the cover. Volume 3 is perhaps a bit less moody than its predecessors, but still high on the jangle. The most unexpected tracks come from The Suns of Mourning with an almost Zombies-standard ballad, Left Banke-affiliated The Birth of Spring, and Our Gang’s Buddy Holly cover from the b-side of garage monster “Careless Love”. Some of the bands even verge on folk rock, like The Black Sheep, The Empty Set, The Birdwatchers and Brian Arthur.

The big standouts for me are Dale & the Devonaires who kick off the comp with one of most immense intros ever, The Squires b-side and alltime fave “Go Ahead”, the completely unexpected Mark IV who were on the very first USA Garage Greats bootleg, and of course the flips from The Lost Souls and The Lemon Drops!

Please note that The Tikis is not the equally great pre-Harpers Bizarre group, but a bunch of Indiana teens. The Black Sheep (also of “It’s My Mind” fame) was a pre-Brewer & Shipley group. “I’m Feeling Down” was also cut by The Poor with a different title. “Nobody to Love” by Sonics Inc. is considered the rarest garage 45 in the world, according to G45 Central, and will also feature on my G100 comps.


1. Dale & The Devonaires – Never Be Free IGL 166, 1966
2. The Trademarks – If I Was Gone Palmer 5018, 1967
3. The Black Sheep – I’m Feeling Down Columbia 4-43974, 1967
4. The Drones – When I’m With You Drone, 1967
5. The Birdwatchers – I Have No Worried Mind Mala 548, 1966
6. The Suns of Mourning – I’m Not Worth It Midgard 204, 1966
7. The Black Ravens – Wipe Those Teardrops B &R 201.131, 1966
8. The Escorts – My Only Love TEO 105, 1966
9. Sonics Inc. – Nobody to Love Sonics SP0003, 1966
10. The Lost Souls – The Girl I Love Bang 509, 1965
11. The Tikis – Careful What You Say Fujimo 6139, 1966
12. The Empty Set – Tomorrow Is a Long Time Coral 62485, 1966
13. The Lemon Drops – Listen Girl Rembrant 5009, 1967
14. The Mark IV – Hey Girl (Won’t You Listen) Giantstar 405, 1966
15. The Birth of Spring – Cause You Lied to Me Mercury 72687, 1967
16. The Vandals – My Girl Big Rock 511, 1965
17. The Toads – Leaving It All Behind Decca 318470, 1965
18. The Rumbles – Fourteen Years Mercury 72600, 1966
19. The Night Crawlers – You Say Maad 51166, 1965
20. Brian Arthur – What Can You Do With a Broken Heart? Coral 62497, 1968
21. The Off Set – You’re a Drag Brent 7053, 1967
22. The Squires – Go Ahead Atco 6442, 1966
23. Our Gang – Heartbeat Warrior 21166, 1966

Date: September 22nd, 2011
Cate: graphic design, rediscovered

SIDE 21 | mix

After the recent excursion into new releases, it about time for the second of four volumes of Bitter Bells – a series collecting moody/jangly 60s garage from other compilations, which usually mainly favor fuzz guitar breaks, howls, and pounding beats. The 23 tracks on each volume were already compiled back at the start of the year, so I’ve heard plently of new favourite tales of woe since then. Maybe enough for a 5th volume?

This second volume is perhaps slightly more eclectic than the first, with the Legends track reaching back to the beat era of ’64. There’s the obligatory Dutch beat ballad, this time from The Cavaliers. The Insane with their maniacal take on Byrds, and The Different Parts’ fuzzed up put-down song “Why”. Most notably, #2 features classic moody garage songs from The Illusions, Brym-Stonz Ltd., The Mojos (not the same Mojos who are in the cover photo!) and The Dovers. Personally though, my oldest and dearest acquaintances are Chris Morgan & the Togas, The Insane and an American group called The Missing Links. Tracklist is below, and check out #1 here. The Mojos in the picture were from Hurricane, WV, and recorded the the great two-sider “Go” b/w “What She’s Done to Me” – not included in this series, but check it out at Flower Bomb Songs.


1. Chris Morgan & the Togas – Would You Believe Challange 593330, 1966
2. The Dovers – I Could Be Happy Miramar 121, 1965
3. The Interns – Hard to Get Uptown 730, 1966
4. The Mojos – Love Does Its Harm Mojo 106725, 1965
5. The Members – I’ll Get By Without You Label 121, 1966
6. The Barons – Time and Time Again SRO 122427, 1966
7. The Foggy Notions – Need a Little Lovin’ Ginny 904, 1966
8. The Wildflower – Wind Dream Mainstream 659, 1966
9. The Indifferents – She’ll Be Back Valor 110, 1965
10. The Impacts – Don’t You Dare Lavender 2005, 1966
11. The Illusions – Wait Till the Summer Michelle 001, 1966
12. The King’s Ransom – Shame Integra 101, 1966
13. The Six Deep – Girl It’s Over De’Lynn 101, 1967
14. The Mid-Knights – Why Style 2001, 1966
15. The Legends – Here Comes the Pain Warner 5457, 1964
16. The Rockers – There’s a Pain IGL 102, 1965
17. The Chessmen – No More BRS 1014, 1965
18. The Different Parts – Why AMS 001, 1967
19. The Malcontents – (I’m a) Roustabout Gems 18347, 1966
20. The Insane – Someone Like You Allen Association 201348, 1967
21. The Missing Links – You Hypnotize Me Signet 6460, 1966
22. The Cavaliers – You Can Not Make Me Cry Imperial 673, 1965
23. Brym-Stonz LTD. – Times Gone By Custom 143, 1967